Helping Kids Understand the Importance of Social Distancing

One of the things that I find comforting right now is this feeling that in so many ways this crisis is bringing out the best in people. Most notably my kids!

In fact, it may simply be human nature to be kind and helpful in times of need. In a recent study, children only 4 to 5 years old who were told that resisting a treat would benefit another child were better able to delay gratification than children told their actions would only affect themselves. Similarly, babies as young as 19 months old were willing to give food away to someone who appeared to need it, even when hungry themselves. Studies show that protecting others is a huge motivator for doing the right thing.  

So let’s not underestimate our kids' ability to make the right decisions when it comes to social distancing, we just need to provide them with the right information. We know that the only path to flattening the curve for COVID-19 is community-wide isolation: the more people stay home, the fewer people will catch the disease. The fewer people who catch the disease, the better hospitals can help those who do. Crowding at hospitals doesn’t just threaten those with COVID-19; if emergency rooms are overwhelmed, more flu patients, too, will die because of lack of treatment.

Take time over a family dinner to have an open and honest conversation with your kids. Tap into their altruism by focusing on the POWER they have to flatten the curve. With younger kids remind them that each day they stay home they are saving lives, how amazing is that! And with older kids look at the maps together. Listen to their concerns, and collaborate on a plan to make the best of this time together. 

Anne Frank spent 761 days in hiding WITHOUT any technology. We can do this.



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